Chrystal Henry (Campbell) moved from her family’s cotton property in Toobeah, 70km west of Goondiwindi, in 2002 to pursue a career as a Fashion Designer in Brisbane. She studied for 2 years full time before going on to designing and making couture bridal and formal gowns. After 3 years she decided that she wanted to be more creative and unrestricted with her designs so she decided that children’s clothing would be fun, colourful and without limits!
She started making baby clothes at her home on the Gold Coast Hinterland and sold them online and at local markets. People were responding so well to the brand that keeping up with the demand proved to be difficult with Chrystal sewing herself. It was at this point she decided offshore production would be the way to go to keep up with the market and competition.
So, in January 2010, Chrystal made the decision to take a quick business trip to China when she was 6 months pregnant with her second child. During this trip she forged a fantastic business relationship with a manufacturer who she still uses to this day.
After her first collection was launched for Summer 2010/11, Love Henry was stocking only a handful of stores but within a few years the number had grown rapidly. Love Henry attended their first trade show in 2011 in Melbourne and then again in Sydney and have been attending twice annually ever since. Chrystal says, “Attending the tradeshows are by far my favourite part of the business. I get to network and interact with stockists new and old and hear the positive hype around the brand. It is so uplifting. I also love seeing other brands and meeting the people behind them. Most of them are Mums just like me!”
In 2012, Chrystal and her husband, Jason, made the move with their children back to the family cotton farm in Toobeah, near Goondiwindi. “The best thing about the business I have created is that I can be flexible with my hours and my location”. Chrystal says, “This helps juggle family and work life, but getting the balance right can be a task for a lot of mothers”.
As of now, Love Henry currently supplies over 200 Australian baby boutiques, gift stores and other retail outlets and the number just keeps growing! As a result, Chrystal and her team have unpacked and repacked over 60,000 Love Henry items for stores and customers over the last year. Chrystal says, “It has been difficult to keep up, just when I think I have things under control, the dynamics of the business changes. However, I love where it is heading!”
Chrystal recently also took Love Henry to Bubble tradeshow in London where she gained exposure and found herself stocking stores not only in the UK, but in the US, Ireland, Scotland, Singapore and Israel; across 4 continents.
On a personal level Chrystal has a hectic life with a family of 3 young girls, Georgia aged 10, Myah aged 7 and Elsie Mae aged 4, but developing Love Henry into a successful company is her passion; so, this doesn’t stop her from pursuing her dream. “Yes, it’s busy but I’m just an everyday mother as well as an entrepreneur, doing what I love”. Chrystal doesn’t claim to do it all herself, she employs 2 other staff members who run the office and the warehouse and has a Nanny to help with her and the children. “Living 45 minutes from town, I don’t have regular childcare facilities so having a Nanny is my best option… and I get to spend all day, every day being around my children but can work at the same time”. Even though her work hours may not be as productive being a “Work at Home Mum”, she gets the best of both worlds and is building an empire for her children at the same time.
Chrystal designs all the Love Henry fabrics, which gives her a niche in the children’s wear industry. Chrystal says, “My daughters love the design process too and help with making design decisions, they are the target market, so their input helps a lot!” Chrystal hopes that one day, one or all of her three girls will take over the Love Henry enterprise and keep it a household brand for many years to come.
Love Henry offers baby and children’s designer clothing from newborn to size 8 in girls and boys. With Chrystal coming from a cotton farming family and a bridal couture background this, in turn, creates beautiful, soft, natural, unique designs with attention to detail.